Introducing Participatory and Child-Centered Approach for Early Identification and Prevention of Bullying in School Setting in 7 EU Countries

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The project is implemented in partnership of 6 NGOs from Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. The overall goal of the project is to involve children in preventing bullying and creating a safe school environment in a participatory and empowering way.

The child perspective on bullying is at the core of our project.

The first step was to approach children from the different European countries participating in the project and to ask them to share their views on safety at school and their fears and expectations. In the seven project partner countries, workshops were conducted in primary and secondary schools with students aged 7 to 18. Students from 7 schools in Sofia participated in the children’s workshops held in Bulgaria.

In Bulgaria, in addition to the children’s workshop, project team members also conducted focus groups and interviews with children.

Thanks to the feedback provided by children in the framework of workshops and focus groups, we were able to develop a children’s booklet so that children’s voices can reach teachers and various stakeholders from the child protection system. The booklet is translated in 7 languages and is available electronically.

Within the project, members of Animus team conducted trainings with teachers from different schools in Sofia. The topics of the trainings were related with the issues of violence, aggression, the need of healthy communication, the rules and the social atmosphere at school. The trainings opened a space for presentation and discussion of the „Mechanism for Counteracting Bullying among Children and Students at School“. Animus is a member of the working group at the Ministry of Education that developed and reviewed the mechanism.

The Center for Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at Animus Association Foundation provides psychological support to victims of school bullying and their parents. What is more, counselling is provided not only to victims but also to perpetrators of school bullying.

Within the project, knowledge gained and lessons learned will be spread among a broader audience of specialists responsible for children’s well-being – head teachers, teachers, social workers, police officers, other key stakeholders, etc. We believe this is an effective way of increasing the awareness among professionals on the emotional needs of children.

The final project phase will assess the existing legal framework on the topic of prevention of bullying in the 7 EU member states participating in the project. Findings of this assessment will be used to stimulate a public debate and to draw up recommendations for potential legislative changes.